This good news comes after successful negotiations between the PNGSDP and the four local Members of Parliament led by Governor Taboi Awi Yoto.
North Fly MP and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, James Donald, who has taken the lead in this initiative, said about 20, 000 rubber farmers and families across the province are expected to benefit from this deal.
Donald said this funding of USD60 million (K193.86 m) would be used over the next ten years to expand rubber industry so that it can provide a sustainable income for some 20, 000 families in the province.
He said this deal would also strengthen the implementer, North Fly Rubber Limited, in terms of strengthening its management capacity and put it on a sound commercial footing arrangement.
“We have tried to consider the freight subsidy and price stabilization for the farmers. The need here is to immediately increase the price of cuplump latex purchased from the farmers at wet weight or farm door price. We’ve also realized that North Fly Rubber Limited will from its reserve funds increase the price to K1.40 per kilo by 20 toea next month (February). Further increase in price is expected to hit K2.50 or more by end of this year,” Donald said.
Donald, who was also a former rubber factory manager in Kiunga, said the program aims at recruiting more extension officers and create more job opportunities for graduates and school leavers including re-employing former North Fly Rubber Ltd employees who were retrenched some years back.
He said the need to increase volume of rubber into Kiunga rubber factory is required and also it would create more jobs to run more shifts in production, adding another factory is expected to be built on Sturt Island in the Middle Fly.
“With this announcement, I urge all my North Fly rubber farmers to start gearing up to refocus on your rubber plantations and do maintenance and commence tapping the rubber.
“This is the only cash crop we have that we’ve all invested years ago with our grandparents and now we must harvest it with more commercial arrangement.
“I would discourage free handouts mentality my people have since Ok Tedi Mine started and that must come to a stop. This time around we will now use any proceeds from our extractive resources and we will spend on Agriculture as top priority followed by Education, Health and Infrastructure,” Donald said.